Valve has both confirmed and revealed its plans for a handheld console to compete with the Nintendo Switch. The company introduced the Steam Deck handheld console today.
The Steam Deck will be available to reserve in select regions and will begin shipping out in December 2021. This handheld Steam console was announced the same day that Nintendo Switch OLED pre-orders opened up. Reservations open July 16th at 12pm CT.
The Steam Deck comes with three different price points, depending on storage size. The 64GB version sells for $399. The 256GB version sells for $529, and uses an SSD instead of an eMMC (embedded MultiMediaCard). The most expensive is the 512GB version that runs for $649 that comes with “premium anti-glare etched glass” and an exclusive carrying case. All versions of the Steam Deck also come with a high-speed MicroSD slot for you to add additional storage.
Players will be able to access their entire Steam library after signing into the Steam Deck device. Valve has partnered with AMD to create a custom APU, optimized for handheld gaming. The specs section says the “Zen 2 + RDNA 2 powerhouse, [should deliver] more than enough performance to run the latest AAA games in a very efficient power envelope.” The specs also estimate the battery life lasts anywhere between two to eight hours of gameplay, depending on what game you play.
Steam Deck users will also be able to use cloud saves to pick up progress made on PC. You will also be able to stream games from your PC to your Steam Deck using remote play. It will run on its own version of the SteamOS, but the FAQ section clarified that Steam Deck is “a PC so you can install third party software and operating systems.” The Steam Store, chat, and all the community features will be available.
The Steam Deck also comes with a dock that’s similar to what the Nintendo Switch uses. Players will be able to connect to external displays, wired networking, USB peripherals, power, and powered USB-C hubs. The dock will be sold separately.
Valve is implementing a reservation fee to “ensure an orderly and fair ordering process for customers,” presumably to prevent scalping and bot purchase efforts. Customers in the U.S., Canada, European Union, and the U.K. can reserve a Steam Deck, one per customer.